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Point Park University will host and field a team for the America250PA Direct Effect Innovation Challenge. A second-round competition will take place Fri., Oct. 25, at the University.

The America250PA Commission has partnered with academic and industry leaders to offer Pennsylvania higher education students the opportunity to help launch America250PA — a six-year, statewide celebration of the nation’s 250th birthday — beginning in 2020.

Gov. Tom Wolf invited students from every university and college in the Commonwealth to participate in a three-round competition that will teach students integrated marketing campaign strategy and let them turn their ideas into viable campaigns for the America250PA launch.

"There are three goals that we have here. The first goal is to have one heck of a party to make sure that we celebrate our 250th birthday in an appropriate fashion. The second thing is to make sure the whole world understands the central role that Pennsylvania played in the founding of this nation. And the third thing is to do this in such a way that Pennsylvania becomes a magnet for tourists from this country and abroad who want to see where this nation started and why Pennsylvania is so important. Our 250th celebration is going to make sure everyone knows that," Wolf said.

Schools fielding teams for the second-round challenge on Friday are:

  • Point Park University
  • Westminster College
  • Thiel College
  • Carlow University
  • Pittsburgh Technical College
  • Robert Morris University
  • Saint Francis University

Point Park’s team is made up of students Divine Kennedy and Sabrina Tatalias from the Rowland School of Business and Brianna Farrand and Kayla Snyder from the School of Communication.

The students are being advised by Dorene Ciletti, Ph.D., associate professor of sales and marketing and H.J. Heinz Co. Endowed Chair in Business Management; and Camille Downing, M.A., lecturer of public relations and advertising.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our students to work together in developing an idea and taking from concept to a polished pitch,” Ciletti said. “Direct marketing is often a critical part of organizational marketing efforts. These students are building career-ready skills through this competition.”

The first round, also called the Campus Round, had students develop and present initial concepts, with judging panels electing a school’s team. In Friday’s Regional Round, teams from the aforementioned schools will compete to develop the best integrated direct marketing campaign for America250PA.

Regional winners advance to the State Final on Nov. 19, where they will pitch their campaigns to Gov. Wolf and officials from the United States Postal Service.

The Direct Effect Innovation Challenge is conducted as a public service of the U.S. Postal Service with support from educators and marketing industry leaders.

The Regional Round at Point Park University takes place in 200 Lawrence Hall, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. Teams begin working on their projects at 10:30 a.m. and will present concept pitches at 3:15 p.m.

More About: School of Communication, student competition, Downtown Pittsburgh, Rowland School of Business, marketing and sales